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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Decorating plants to celebrate the winter solstice.


CURWOOD: Decorating plants to celebrate the winter solstice is an old tradition. Ancient Egyptians brought palm leaves into their homes on the shortest day of the year. Romans adorned their buildings with evergreens during the winter festival to honor Saturn, the god of agriculture. In the Middle Ages, the Paradise Tree, an evergreen hung with red apples, was the symbol of the feast of Adam and Eve, held on December 24th. Today in the United States more than 34 million trees are cut down at Christmas. The average tree weighs 17 pounds, and is 6-and-a-half feet tall. While these trees are biodegradable, they make good mulch if they're chopped up, most end up in landfills where they degrade slowly. As an alternative some folks buy artificial trees, and others purchase small, live trees which can be potted all year or replanted in the back yard.



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